In Alappuzha there are numerous temples, churches as well as mosques, some of which are very famous. Temples such as Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple, Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathy Temple etc are very famous and are visited by thousands of pilgrims from all over. One of the churches built by St. Thomas who was an apostle of Jesus Christ is also located in Alappuzha. People from all religions live here in communal harmony. Some of the main pilgrim centers in Alappuzha are given below
Temples in Alappuzha
Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple
Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple in Ambalapuzha was constructed in the year 790 by Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayanan Thampuran. It is associated to the Sri Krishna temple in Guruvayoor. The idol from Guruvayoor temple was bought and kept in this temple by Tipu Sulthan in the year 1789. The architecture of this temple is very famous and is believed to be one of the seven greatest Vaishnava temples in the Travancore. The inner walls of the Chuttambalam of the temple are decorated with various paintings. The art for Ottanthullal was first performed from this temple premise.
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple is dedicated to the serpents. The deity in this temple is Nagaraja. He is Anantha who is Lord Vishnu and Vasuki who is Lord Shiva. It is believed to be the form of Vishnu with the spirit of Shiva. There are two separate places on the temple premise one for the Sarpayakshi and the other for Nagayakshi who are companions of Nagaraja. Daily poojas are offered for Sarpayakshi. There is an Ilanji tree in front of its shrine with several pits for serpents.
Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathy Temple
Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple is a famous temple located in Chettikulangara in Alappuzha district. This temple is around 1200 years old. This temple gets huge income and stands second place in it. The income is accounted to several crores per year. It comes under the control of the Travancore Devaswom Board. An attraction of this temple is the oil lamp called as ‘Kathuvilakku’ that can light more than 1000 wicks which is the largest of its type in India.
Aravukad Devi Temple
Sree Devi temple in Aravukad is located at Punnapra. The temple administration is managed by the members who are elected from the 10 Karas of the areas. There is a pond near to the lake. Some of the main festivals of the temple are Pooram Arattu held in the Malayalam month Meenam, Nirapara Vazhipadu, Ezham Pooja etc.
Chakkulathukavu Sree Bhagavathy Temple
This temple is located in the Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha border. Chakkulathukavu temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy and there are many sub deities like Siva, Vishnu, Shastha, Muruga etc. There is an illuminating idol of Vana Durga near the original idol. The main festival here is the annual Pongala festival which is held in the Malayalam month Vrishchikam. It is one of the main rituals done by the women and they make a dish Pongala Nivedyam.
To take the panoramic view of Chakkulathukavu temple, follow the link:-http://p4panorama.com/panos/chakkulathukavu/index.html
Haripad Subramanya Temple
Subramanya Swamy Temple at Harippad is one of the oldest temples of Kerala which is dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya. It is believed that this temple was built even before the advent of Kaliyuga. This temple is popularly called as the ‘Dakshina Palani’. The shrine is built in the traditional Kerala architecture and is believed to be worshipped by Parasurama. The idol of Lord Subrahmanya is very large and has 4 arms and this idol is the biggest of its kind. Large number of people irrespective of caste and religion visit this temple. The annual festival is held in the Tamil months Aavani, Marghazhi and Chithirai.
Karthyayani Temple is located in Cherthala town. The temple is dedicated to Devi and the idol of Bhagavathy is consecrated by VIlwamangalam Swami. It is believed that the idol of Devi was found by him from a muddy pond with its head immersed in it. A unique feature of this temple is that the idol of Devi is consecrated in the Sacntum Sanctorum below the ground level. So the devotees are not able to directly see it. The sub deities are Siva, Yakshi, Nagaraja, Vishnu and Ganapathy. The festival is conducted in the Malayalam month Meenam.
Karthiani Temple, Aroor
Karthiani Temple is one of the 108 Durga temples. The sub deities are Siva and Ganapathy. The annual festival of this temple is conducted in the Malayalam month Meenam.
Thrikkunnapuzha Sri Dharma Sastha Temple
This temple is located in Karthikappally taluk of Alappuzha. It is popularly called as the ‘Padinjare Pathinettampadi’. The idol of Lord Dharmashastha at this temple is a 21 inch Panchaloha idol which is unique and is only one of its kinds. This idol along with the idols of Dharmasastha’s wife and son are worshipped here. The sub deities here are Durga, Yakshi, Nagaraja, Ganapathy etc. Thrikkunnapuzha Sri Dharma Sastha Temple is considered to be ‘Moolasthaanam’ of Lord Ayyappa. The festivals in Sabarimala begin on the next day after the end of festivals in this temple. It is conducted in the Malayalam month Vrishchikam.
It is an ancient Devasthanam located at Thuravoor in Cherthala. The architecture of the temple is very beautiful. The main deities of this temple are Lord Narasimhamoorthy and Lord Mahasudarsanamoorthy. The deities are popularly called as Vadakkanappan and Thekkanappan respectively. The idol of Narasimhamoorthy is believed to be from Kashi. The sub deities are Ganesha, Ayyappa, Bhagavathy etc. The annual festival of this temple is held in the Malayalam month Thulam.
Varanad Devi Temple
It is an ancient temple of Goddess Devi and is located in Cherthala. The goddess reigns here in all splendor wearing jewels and finery. The sub deities are Shiva, Rakteshwari Devi and Kodumkali. During festivals, various art forms are performed. Some of the major festivals of this temple are Kumbha Bharani festival, Meena Bharani festival, Makara Bharani festival etc. On Makara Bharani festival women devotees offer Pongala. On the day of Kumbha Bharani, Garudan Thookkam is conducted as an offering to Devi.
Chengannur Mahadeva Temple
It is one of the oldest temples in Alappuzha. The main deities here are Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi. Devi’s idol is made of Panchaloha and the idol of Sivalingam is gold plated. One of the unique and interesting festivals in this temple is the Thriputharattu. It is connected with the menstruation ceremony which is observed periodically in the temple. So this temple is also considered as Shakthi Peedam. The annual festival held in the Malayalam months Dhanu and Makaram is celebrated for 28 days.
Padanilam Parabrahma Temple
Nooranad Padanilam Parabrahma Temple is located in Padanilam. It is one of the major temples in Kerala and the deity here is Parabrahma which is the integration of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. The rare thing here is that there is no proper idol here. One of the main festivals is the annual Sivarathri festival and the ritual Kettukazhcha is an important sight of this festival. Kavadiyattom is performed for Lord Subrahmanyan during this festival.
Mullackal Sree Bhagavathy Temple or Rajarajeshwari temple is located in Alappuzha city and the deity here is Goddess Rajarajeshwari. It is believed that the idol in this temple is bought by the Thekkumkur soldiers. A unique feature in this temple is that the first Sunday of December is women’s festival and that on this day all the rituals are performed by women only. The main festivals conducted here are the Mullackal Chirappu and Thaipooyakavadi.
In Kottamkulangara there is a temple complex with two deities Lord Vishnu and Goddess Bhagavathi. The two temples are in the same compound wall but have separate flag masts and festivals. Sri Maha Vishnu Temple is an ancient temple while Devi temple is relatively new. The deity of Lord Vishnu has 4 arms bearing Conch, Wheel, Club and Lotus in each hands. The sub deities here are Ganapathy, Bhuvaneshwari and Nagaraja. The annual festival is conducted in the Malayalam month Makaram and lasts for 8 days. The festival of Devi temple lasts for 10 days and is held in the Malayalam month Kumbham.
Some of the other main temples in Alappuzha district are
Kollappally Maheswari Devi temple, Dhanwanthari temple, Sree Durga Bhagavathi temple at Mankompu, Sree Krishna Temple at Mavelikkara, Kannamangalam Sree Mahadeva temple etc.
Churches in Alappuzha
St. George Forane Church, Edathua was established in 29th September 1810 in Alappuzha district. It is situated on the banks of river Pamba and is dedicated to St. George. The architecture of this church has been influenced by the European structures.This church popularly called as the Edathua church is famous for having miraculous powers for curing mental ailments and other diseases.
St Andrew’s Basilica is located in Arthunkal in Cherthala and is one of the Forance Parishes of Alappuzha. It is also the First Parish of the Alappuzha Diocese. It is one of the main pilgrim centers of the Christians in South India. People irrespective of caste and religion come to this church for worship. St Andrews’s Forance church was given the status of Basilica in 2010 and is the 7th Basilica in Kerala. St. Sebastian was a martyr who suffered a lot for the Church of Christ. Even though the church is in the name of St. Andrew, this church became famous due to the St. Sebastian feast.
Champakulam Valiya Palli
The St Mary’s Forane church in Champakulam which is also called as Valiya Palli is one of the oldest churches of Kerala. The annual feast is conducted on the 3rd Sunday of October. The feast of St Joseph is also held here on 19th March annually.
Saint Thomas who was an apostle of Jesus Christ established seven and half churches in India and was called as Seven and Half Churches or Ezharappallikal. One of these churches is the Kokkamangalam church. Initially St Thomas erected a cross and then opened a church in this place. But later in his absence this cross was cut off by some unknown and thrown into the nearby lagoon. This cross reached Pallipuram through the water and the devotees of that place installed this cross and opened a church there. There is a relic of St. Thomas in Kokkamangalam church and a seven storeyed lamp is kept in front of it. The annual feast in this church is held on the First Sunday after Easter.
Kainakari Chavara Bhavan
An ancient church which is dedicated to the religious priest Kuriakose Elias Chavara who was a religious priest is located in Kainakari in ALappuzha. This village was the birthplace of this saint. Thousands of devotees from neighboring places visit this church for prayers and meditation. There is a 250 year old lamp preserved here. The main celebration here is the Birth Anniversary of the saint which is conducted on the 2nd Saturday and Sunday of February.
CSI Christ Church
CSI Christ Church is the first Anglican Church to be established in Travancore region. It was constructed in the year 1818 by Rev Thomas Norton who was a CMS missionary.
Some other main churches in Alappuzha are
Holy Cross Church at Purakkad, The Latin Catholic Church, St Michaels Church at Thathampally, St.Antony Church at Arookutty, St.George Church at Puthenangady, Lourdes Matha Church at Charamangalam, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church at Kaithavana, St.Francis Xavier Church at Cherthala, St.George Church at Puthenangady, Little Flower Church at Aryad, St.Mary Church at Punnamada etc.
Mosques in Alappuzha
East Juma Masjid, West Juma Masjid, Salafi Juma Masjid Mosque etc. are some of the mosques in Alappuzha.